Report: on average day, nearly 40 percent of searchers use only smartphones

Google released new “cross device” research that provides more evidence of what we already know: a substantial number of consumers browse the web and search on multiple devices throughout the day. However it also confirms that mobile is the dominant platform and that a meaningful percentage of users go mobile only.

The findings are based on “behavioral measurement of a convenience sample of 11,964 opt-in Google users between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2016.” The data were then “calibrated to reflect a U.S. demographic of 18 to 49-year-old cross-device users.”

Google cross-device study

Users spend 170 minutes on their smartphones daily vs. 120 minutes on PCs and roughly 75 minutes on tablets (for those who own tablets). The four most common physical locations that smartphones are used, in order, are:

1. Home
2. Work
3. Stores
4. Restaurants and Bars

This data is echoed in another recent mobile usage study from Burke and Thrive Analytics. That study argued that smartphones are as much about at-home, top-of-the-funnel usage as they are near me, out-and-about usage.

On an average day roughly 80 percent of users are on their smartphones, while 67 percent are on PCs (these numbers seem low to me). Roughly 57 percent of these people move between devices and 21 percent are concurrent users on more than one device simultaneously.

More striking, however, is the finding that 27 percent of people are smartphone-only users (on any given day). Google also reports that of those people who conduct searches on an average day, 39 percent search only on a smartphone and 32 percent search only on a PC.

The company also showcased year-over-year growth of mobile search by category:

Google cross-device study

These findings were released partly in support of Google’s recently announced cross-device retargeting capabilities. There’s more data in the full report (PDF).


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